Learning a new accent is mostly about changing old habits. Its like when you go from a full size key board to a small laptop key board. One really important thing to is relax when you are speaking American English. The more you try to pronounce every single word very clearly, the harder it is for the average American to understand you. Study this sentence too carefully, What. are. you. doing?, and this is the American way. What’re you doing? [wh’ choo’ doin’]. INTRODUCTION CAN I REALLY SOUND AMERICAN
Many people apologize for their pronunciation, saying that it is ‘bad’. This statement must be refuted. Pronunciation is neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’, it’s just different. It’s helpful to have a positive attitude, particularly when learning something as personal as an accent. “MY PRONOUNCIATION IS REALLY BAD”
LANGUAGE FLOWS There is an expression in American, go with the flow. That’s going to be our philosophy here. If you try to speak word by word, it’s like a salmon swimming upstream. It’s exhausting. All you have to do is turn around and go with the flow. LANGUAGE FLOWS
Since ä, æ and æo are the extra vowels here we would discuss their Pronunciation. 1 ä should be pronounced like the sound you make when the doctor wants to see your throat-aaaaaaah! Generally, when a word is spelled with an ‘o,’ ‘al,’ or ‘aw’, it’s pronounced [ä], long [läng]; small [smäll]; law [lä]. 2 æ is a combination of the tense vowel [ä] and the lax vowel [e]. It is similar to the noise that goat makes. 3 æo is a combination of [æ] and [o]. This is a very common sound, usually written as ow or ou in words like down or round, and Indian people tend to pronounce it [äu] rather than [æo].
The ä sound in words is pronounced like æ in America. sounds So, the last class becomes the laest claess. You should raise the back of your tongue, and make a noise similar to that of a lamb. æ
THE LAST CHANCE(Exercise to practice the æ sound) Last Saturday, on the last day in January, we planned a national travel package to Los Angeles which is south of Nevada. After gambling past midnight, we analyzed our financial circumstances, which were problematic, and accounted for around half our cash. We’d managed to gamble past bankruptcy! We had one last chance at a rational transaction, but we laughed brashly and practiced passing the hat for fast cash.
AW is followed in neutral accent but it changes to AA in US accent A lot of long hot walks in the garden. John was not very sorry when the boss called off the walks in the garden. Obviously, to him it was awfully hot and the walks were far too long. He had not thought that walking would have aught on the way it did, and he fought the policy from the onset. At first, he thought he could talk it over with the law office and have it quashed but a small obstacle halted the thought. The top lawyers bought coffee at the shop across the lawn and they did not want to stop on John’s account. John’s problem was not office politics, but office policy. He resolved the problem by bombing the garden.
O The O sound in American is pronounced like ou so only, most, both sounds like ounlee, moust, bouth. Neutral Pronunciation o nly h o pe n o te US Pronunciation ounli houp nout
In US accent we need to roll our ‘R’s’ but in neutral accent ‘R’ is silent.
US accent Neutral accent
University uni-va-si ty
In Neutral accent when ‘W’ comes in between vowels it is silent but in US accent it is not silent.
US accent Neutral accent
The American T can be little tricky if you base your pronunciation on spelling. Here are five simple rules .
1. T is T at the beginning of a word.
Or in a stressed syllable.
2. T is D in the middle of a word.
3. T is Held at the end of a word.
T is Held before N in -tain and -ten endings.
5. T is silent after N with lax vowels.
Rule:1: TOP OF THE STAIRCASE PRACTICE
Read the following sentences out loud. Make sure that the Ts are sharp and clear
Tina tried to tame Ted’s tiger on Tuesday.
Terry told Tim to take a trip to Texas.
Tom and Tasha were too tense to tango in Taiwan
Tell Tyler to take two turns this time.
Thirteen and fourteen and fifteen make forty two.
Rule-2, Middle of the Staircase An Unstressed T in the middle of a staircase between two vowel sounds should be pronounced as soft D . Betty bought a bit of better butter. Exercise Neutral accent US accent 1. Patty got a little better Paddy godda liddle bedder. 2.Put a little water on it Pudda liddle wadder on id. 3.Get a better water heater. Gedda bedder wadder heater.
EXERCISE 4-1: STRESSED AND UNSTRESSED T Repeat after me. I ta lian I taly A t tack a ttic A to mic a tom Pho to graphy phot ograph EXERCISE BETTY BOUGHT A BIT OF BETTER BUTTER # Betty bought a bit of better butter, Beddy ba de bihda bedder budder But, said she, Bu(t), said she, This butter’s bitter. This budder’z bidder. It I put it in my batter If I pudi din my baedder It’ll make my batter bitter Id’ll make my baedder bidder.
Rule 3-Bottom of the Staircase- THE HELD T There are three ‘held’ Ts, which, strictly speaking, are not really Ts at all. (By held, I mean that the tongue is in the T position, but the air isn’t released. To compare, when you say T as in Tom, there’s a sharp burst of air over the tip of the tongue, and when you say Betty, there’s a soft puff of air over the tip of the tongue. When you hold a T, as in ho(t), your tongue is in the position for T, but you hold the air back with the tip of your tongue).
T at the bottom of the a staircase is in the held position . Exercise 1. Take i(t) 2. It’s wha(t) they wan(t) to ge(t) 3. Pu(t) them back in the po(t) 4. Se(t) the clock back a(t) the even(t) 5. Wha(t) did you find a(t) tha(t) site?
Rule-4,HELD T BEFORE N
T before N can be in the held position. Repeat.
We tried to shorten the kindergarten class.
Courtney had written about the fountain of youth.
The sumo wrestlers had eaten well to fatten up.
Whitney’ rotten kitten has bitten Martin.
Rule-5: Silent T (T) and(N) are so close in the mouth that the (T) can simply disappear. Read the following sentences out loud. Make sure that the underlined Ts are silent . 1. He interrupted twenty interviews in Toronto. [he innerupt’d twenny innerviews in tranno] 2. There was a large percentage of international students. [there w’z large percen’j of innernational students. 3. He won’t even interfere with the interaction. [he won nev’n innerfere with the inneraction. 4. We took full advantage of the Internet. [we tuk full advan’j of the innernet] 5. He drove the interstate through to Atlanta [he drove the innerstate through to altaenna]
6. Is he a ‘has been’ or a ‘wanna be’? [izze a haez bin ora wanna be] 7. He’s at the Intercontinental Hotel. [heez’t the innercon ‘nl hotel] 8. He wasn’t even helping, was he? [hee w’znev’n helping, wuzzee] 9. He hasn’t ever been there, has he? [he haez nevr bin there, haezee] 10. He won’t always do it, would he? [he wo naweez du t, woody]
Exercise: Combinations : Repeat the following sentences. 1. I’m not sure what I want, but I hope to find it. [Im nat shur wedai want, buddai hope t find dit] 2. We think that it’s OK, but it’s a little complicated. [We think the dit so kay, budit se liddl campl’cad’d] 3. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. [he dozen know wedeez takinge baeot] 4. The doctor says that you’ll get over it. [the daktr sez tha chull ge dovrr’t] 5. I said that he’s not the one that I told you about. I sed tha deez nat the one tha dai tol joo abaeot]
6. But if it’s too small, bring it back. [bedifits too small, bring it baek] 7. We don’t know what you mean. [we don no whechoo meen] 8. But isn’t there a better way? [bediz there a beddr way] 9. It’s great what you’ve done with this place. [its great whechoov den with this place. 10. But are they sure about what you said? [beddr they shur abaeut wechoo sed].
The American L
L is a glide. The air flows around the sides of the tongue. The tongue is
very tense, the tip of the tongue is securely touching the roof of the
mouth behind the teeth, but the sides of the tongue are dropped down.
This is where L is different.
Fill 2 Full 3 Fool 4 Fail
Fell 6 feel 7 fuel 8 furl
Silent L’s The good news is that very often you don’t even have to pronounce them. Repeat the following list of words Exercise 1. Would could should 2.chalk talk walk 3.calm palm psalm 4.already alright almond 5.although almost always 6.salmon alms 7.folk caulk polka
THE AMERICAN R
The trouble with R is that you can’t see it from the outside. With a P,
for instance, you can see when people put their lips together and pop
out a little puff. With R, however, everything takes place behind
almost closed lips – back down in the throat – and who can tell what
the tongue is doing? It is really hard to tell what’s going on if you can
hear the err sound, especially if you’re used to making an R by
touching your tongue to the ridge behind your teeth. So, what should
your tongue be doing?
This technique can help you visualize the correct tongue movements in
pronouncing the R.
Hold your hand out flat, with the palm up, slightly dropping the back end of it. That’s basically the position your tongue is in when you say ah [a], so your flat hand will represent this sound.
Now, to go from ah to the er, take your fingers and curl them up slightly. Again, your tongue should follow that action. The sides of your tongue should come up a bit, too. When the air passes over that hollow in the middle of your tongue (look at the palm of your hand), that’s what creates the er sound.
Try is using both your hand and tongue simultaneously, Say ah, with your throat open (and your hand flat), then curl your tongue up (and your fingers) and say errr. The tip of the tongue should be aimed at a middle position in the mouth, but never touching, and your throat should relax and expand. R, like L, has a slight schwa in it. This is a what pulls the er down so far back in your throat.
1 2 3
[a] + [er] [haerd] hard ha
[e] + [er] [haer] here erd
[e] + [er] [shaer] share
[o] + [er] [moer] more
[er]+ [er] [werer] were
Looks Like Sounds Like
Exercise( to practice R) The current Republican majority would make it easier for electric companies and their Creditors, shareholders and customers not to file for bankruptcy protection. A senior manager said reliability could be hurt by the proceedings. Despite their assurances, workers are worried that fears will trigger shortages and thwart rally.”Sure, we’re nervous,” said a member of the brotherhood of Electrical Workers.There’s pressure for rates to rise, and to bring the revenues more in line with costs.
COMPLEX INTONATION- word stress Here we will expand on the complex noun intonation. Exercise: Contrasting Phrase To review, an adjective and a noun make a descriptive phrase, and the second word is stressed. Two nouns make a compound noun, and the first word is stressed. Repeat the following sentences, side to side. DESCRIPTIVE PHRASE COMPOUND NOUN An important record a financial record An honest merchant a merchant account A big business a business transaction A necessary statistic a statistics class A financial analysis a systems analyst A standard practice an accounting practice A monthly payment a payment plan Workers compensation a compensation insurance
Exercise: Repeat after me, reading side to side.
An important record a very important record
An honest merchant a fairly honest merchant
A big business a truly big business
A useful item a highly useful item
A financial analysis a daily financial analysis
A standard practice a clearly standard practice
A monthly payment a regular monthly payment
Workers compensation semi full compensation
TEE AITCH The most common words are the smoothest, the most reduced, the most often voiced. There are several very common words that are all voiced: this, that, the, those, them, they, their, there, then, than, though. The strong words such as thank, think, or thing, as well as long or unusual words such as thermometer or theologian stay unvoiced. To pronounce TH correctly, think of a snake’s tongue. You don’t want to take a big relaxed tongue, throw it out of your mouth for a long distance and leave it out there for a long time. Exercise: The theory that Theodore Thurston thought that three thirds was worth thirty thousand dollars, meant that one thirtieth was worth one thousand dollars.
The Middle I List The letter I in the unstressed position devolves consistently into a schwa . Exercise ~ity ~ify ~ited ~ible ~ical ~imal ~ization ~cation ~ination ~infaction ~itation ability Accident Activity America analytical Applicant application article audible Auditor authority availability California Capacity clinical clerical chemical Chemistry chronoligical clarity commodity Community communication complexity confident Confidentiality contribution creativity credit
D+Y = J T+Y = CH Did you like it? What’s your name How did you like it Can’t you do it? Could you tell? Don’t you like it? S+Y=SH Z+Y = ZH Yes, you are How’s your family? Insurance How was your trip? Bless You Where’s your mom? Liaisons
Hello, my name is . I’m taking American Accent training. There’s a lot to learn, but I hope to make it as enjoyable as possible. I should pick up on the American intonation pattern pretty easily, although the only way to get it is to practice all of the time. I use the up and down, or peaks and valleys, intonation more than I used to. I’ve been paying attention to pitch, too. It’s like walking down a staircase. I’ve been talking to a lot of Americans lately, and they tell me that I’m easier to understand. Anyway, I could go on and on, but the important thing is to listen well and sound good. Well, what do you think? Do I? Liaisons
Today t’day Tonight t’night Tomorrow t’maarou To work t’wrk Reduced sounds